Question: I have a problem with pens etc. not with holding them too tight but with the pressure needed to use them, i.e. ballpoints etc. It’s got to the point where I can only use fountain pens and soft pencils and even these can cause me problems on a bad day. What can I do?

Answer 1: I too have problems with pens. PACT suggested a Pilot “Dr Grip” pen but I’ve been unable to locate them. Fountain pens have been helpful although I have a Parker biro pen with a large grip which has been wonderful! Unfortunately I got it as a present and don’t know which model it is! Someone has suggested the Early Learning Centre for large chunky grips for pens – I’ve not plucked up the courage yet! Hopefully the Dragon mobile unit may prove to be a hit if it can replace a lot of handwriting!

Answer 2: I think we ran through a bunch of these about 6 months ago so for the newcomers since then, there are grips you can get from a number of places, early learning centre included, which will fit onto most pens. They’re designed for children to get a grip on a regular pen and mean you can have a chunky grip without a picture of noddy on your pen 🙂 I would recommend fibre tip or fountain pens anyway because of the delicate points they force you not to apply too much pressure. They’re about the only pens I can write legibly in, that or propelling pencils. Biros get away from me – I often say that one of the main reasons I got into computers was because my handwriting was illegible (& I lacked training to become a doctor).

Answer 3: I too have problems with pens along with a colleague in the office who has MS. Our Director authorised the purchase of pens specifically for myself and my colleague. We actually use the Pilot G-2 07 in blue gel ink. We also use a Pilot Super Grip propelling pencil. They come highly recommended from us both.

Answer 4: Having developed RSI over 10 years ago due to excessive writing (studying) and music playing, I have found that the best pens to use have been fountain pens. They need less pressure to hold and write with, there is no ball to fall out (a problem that I have with ball point pens) and I find my Cross fountain pen comfortable to hold (for short periods). I must say, the chunky grip pens are new to me, and if they have no balls then I may try them. Apart from that, I tend to work solely on computers with which I have very few problems. With respect to mice, I have an inbuilt roller ball on the side of my laptop, at right angles to the space bar and it has been a saviour to me.

Answer 5: I tried the Dr Grip. It’s like a biro but with a fat squishy area where you put your fingers. It was OK but I still found that the pressure needed to hold and write was still too much for me so I’ve moved onto the fountain pens. I now order disposable fountain pens from our stationery catalogue at work and use these. I’ve just had a look in our book of goodies and found the Dr Grip pen in there. These catalogues are usually fairly universal so you should be able to find the pens easily enough. The Dr Grip we managed to get from a stationers called Sussex Stationers in Chichester.

Answer 6: The new gel ink pens that are available, also require little pressure like the fountain pens. We buy our stationery from a company call Guilbert Niceday.

Answer 7: Large branches of W H Smith stock them. Any independent stationer can order them within a few days. Independent pharmacies have a catalogue called ‘Home… something or other’ which has assorted disability aids in it, including these pens, and also the companion propelling pencil. This catalogue also contains grips to slide onto any standard biro or pencil – they’re very good.

Answer 8: If you find fountain pens too scratchy, you might like water-based pens like the one I bought recently: ‘PILOT G-1’. Can’t remember how much it was, but it wasn’t particularly expensive. It’s very light to use. I bought it from WH Smith in York, upstairs. It came in some kind of package, on the left of the display (I bet they’ve swapped it round since then…). The pen itself is clear plastic, with a blue tint. It’s standard size, though, not thick. As for venturing into the Early Learning Centre – invent a niece! (or I could lend you one of mine, for a small fee).

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